Interview: Kevin Long

A peek into the goals journal – written or imagined – of every local band:

  • Record an album
  • Get played on the radio somewhere mom can hear it
  • Go on tour opening for [favorite and/or personally influential national act]

Aaron Tamayo Photography

Kevin Long, one of my favorite Seattle singer/songwriters, got to do that last thing for three weeks this spring as he opened for Rocky Votolato in San Diego, Chicago, Toronto, and everywhere in between.  By the numbers, it was 16 shows in 19 days with over 5,000 miles of driving, capped off by a big show in Seattle two weeks later.  It was also Long’s first tour longer than a weekend, and his first opportunity to play with a larger act outside of his home-bases of Seattle and Spokane.

I sat down with Kevin Long a few weeks removed from the whole experience to reflect on the ups, downs, and revelations.  You can listen to the interview question-by-question below, or [download id=”9″ format=”1″].  But first, a couple of my favorite excerpts:

“I noticed that, especially with my music being generally so serious, somber, melancholy a lot of the time, [that] the days I was able to counterbalance that with good banter and good humor in between songs people ended up being much more receptive to the music.  I always have this idea of creating this really serious sort of ‘energy space’ for people to experience my show, but it works better when there’s some contrast . . . It’s not like they had to stay in the happy joke land tall the time, they were a lot more receptive to getting into the songs and the other feelings when there was some contrast.”

“When I was out there I was constantly thinking about how cool it was that the reason why I was there, the reason why I was able to afford to be in all these place was because of all the time I spent trying to write songs.”

MH: “How did the tour with Rocky come to be?”

Morgan Bleigh Photography

MH: “What were your favorite shows and the most challenging shows of the tour?”

On the changing energies of shows from night to night:

MH: “What are some challenges to touring that you didn’t expect?”

MH: “Financially and emotionally, did touring on this scale feel sustainable to you?

MH: “What was it like on a nightly basis opening for an artist that has been so influential to you, and playing to their fans?  Did such a great pairing on paper translate into a better audience for you in the way one would expect?”

MH: “How has this experience changed your perspective on being a professional musician?”

It’s Too Sunny Out Here Photography

Kevin Long’s debut album Small Town Talk is available for name-your-price download on his Bandcamp page.  Songs like “In the Nick of Time” and “Green To Grey” will stay with you for the long haul. Be sure to connect with him via Facebook and Twitter for updates on his forthcoming album, Forgiveness in the City, which was successfully kickstarted last month.